With great anticipation, I placed my index finger on the left-clicker of the mouse and pressed.
Only a few more seconds before the next screen came up and my questions would get answered. I would finally have the map to navigate my life and vocation.
Instead, when the next screen appeared and I began to digest the words, I realized I did not get a map…I got a description of my car.
So went my experiment with the Blog StrengthsFinder assessment.
Shortly after recognizing I had improperly set my expectations, I spent some time analyzing my strengths and the incredible resource Marcus Buckingham created.
I wanted to know whether I chose the right profession. Should I consider taking a different path and become a butcher, baker or candlestick maker? I wanted an assessment to just tell me what specific vocation I was designed for. Instead, it revealed to me how I could become the best butcher, the best baker, or the best candlestick maker.
In an instant, something finally clicked in my head. I feared making the wrong vocational choice and wanted to know if I should do something other than serve as a lobbyist for clients from 8-5 every day.
For the past 16 years I have helped clients navigate all levels of government. For nearly eight years prior, I worked as a staffer on Capitol Hill. Nearly 25 years in “government” work and I still had doubts about my vocation.
Within my profession, rarely do you hear of someone taking assessments like StrengthsFinder or the Kolbe Index. Instead, many of us came from government jobs and transitioned immediately into advocating on behalf of organizations and companies in an environment comfortable to us and confusing or intimidating to others.
It turns out my top strengths (responsibility, connectedness, arranger, developer, learner) fit perfectly with my vocation. I already knew how my skills tied in.
Deep down I hoped an assessment…a new tool in my world…would confirm my chosen profession. Maybe deeper down I hoped it would launch me in a new and exciting direction.
Instead it pointed back to me and called me to assess how I worked, not what type of work I did.
The Journey Ahead
All this left me frustrated. What could have been confirmation or redirection simply became an affirmation of how God uniquely created me.
It still left me with the responsibility to take action and not passively let my smart phone’s navigation system take me to the next career destination.
Fortunately, not too long after taking the assessment, I discovered Leadership Design Group and the power of intentional mentoring.
Wes Roberts (LDG’s Founder) and I met at a conference centered on the power of story – Donald Miller’s StoryLine conference. He calls our meeting a “divine appointment.” I could not agree more.
The model Wes and the Mentoring Development Team at LDG have developed encourages integration of the whole person. I had my blinders on and became so focused with questions about my vocation, I was not allowing the other dimensions of my life to inform how I viewed my job.
I am acquiring not only the skill, but the discernment, to take all kinds of inputs (StrengthsFinder, my marriage, my financial goals, my crazy dreams, my passions, my son and stepsons, my desired legacy) and begin to map out my destinations.
Notice I used the plural of destination.
A single destination seems too limiting.
The power of mentoring (like the power of an assessment tool) lies in the exploration, the journey, the dreaming, and the questions. Whereas before, I would have insisted my mentor just tell me what to do with my life so I did not have to deal with the messiness of discovery.
As I continue on the journey of discovery, I will not rely on a map showing exact distances and directions. Instead, I will consistently have whole-life mentors, enjoy the journey, and proceed wisely using the tools at my disposal.
For all of us
the future is waiting to be discovered
through whole-person mentoring.